Reflections on 2020 by Young Reporter Alex

I remember linking arms with my closest friends, swaying as the scent of settling fireworks surrounded us and thinking “this is it, 2020 is my year!” ….. Oh how wrong I was.

This year hit us like a freight train filled to the brim with anxiety and loss; sadly for many it also forced us to say goodbye to loved ones early. I remember the first announcement that the whole country was to go into lockdown and it all just felt so surreal, it’s almost as if time has stopped yet never truly began at all. These days, the weeks pass me by like trains on a platform. They whiz past me, the only discernible features being the beginning and the end of them, with the middle nothing but a blur. Perhaps the pandemic is to blame, yet I feel stationary throughout chaos. For a long time I simply believed that 2020 was simply a black mark on history, that nothing good had ever come from this heinous year but I’m writing this to tell you I was wrong.

2020 taught me that no matter how difficult something may appear, there is always a route to your goal. Whether that be pandemic baking with an alternative to flour because the shelves were empty or completing class work online everyone has persevered through hardship this past year. I even managed to apply to medical school and take all my entrance exams amongst the chaos of the pandemic, it’s definitely a large challenge we all deserve to pat our backs for!

2020 taught me to be grateful for those around me, I have never felt more loved by the friends I have come to hold deep in my heart; I wish I could thank them for all the small things they have done for me over the past half a year because you kept me going when I felt alone. For the first time in nearly my entire life I got to see my mum for more than just the evenings and actually take the time to better our bond too, it was inspiring to see her go out as a key worker and help the NHS when they cried out for more healthcare professionals and it reminded me that society is rather selfless sometimes and we truly can come together in times of need

2020 taught me to be kinder to myself, to take some time away and be mindful of how far I have come. Battles with mental health are so prominent amongst our age group and I think we are really starting to accept that it’s okay to not be okay. Maybe some of you started up a new hobby such as journaling or baking, maybe you decided to shift some of the unnecessary weights on your shoulders – I know I did. The fact that I am sitting here writing this is an achievement to me, and I’m so proud of you reading this for coming this far too.

2020 taught me that life is so precious and should be cherished with your whole being. It was incredibly amusing watching my grandparents try to work a video call but it reminded me that although I can’t see them in person right now, they know how much we love them because a simple message can make the world of difference. One of the best things I ever started doing in the pandemic was texting someone when I thought of them and reminding them I loved them – try it sometime because that love will come back to you.

2020 has not been an easy ride, but do not look back at this year without appreciating the small victories and giving yourself a pat on the back. You are stronger than you could ever imagine simply because you are trying, no one could ask anymore of you. Keep taking everyday step by step and eventually you will reach the peak of the mountain that is your life and realise the view was worth every stumble and fall.

Merry Christmas and have the most incredible New Years

Article by Young Reporter Alex Greenwood
First appeared in Grimsby Telegraph 29th December 2020